This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

Fun With Photoshop

funny photoshop grinning giraffe human man animal hybrid

February 19, 1990: Adobe Photoshop 1.0 Released

“To photoshop” has become a verb in our language. Photography and the results you can achieve has forever been changed. Nowadays when I look at an amazing image my first impression is “Wow”. But my immediate second thought is, “hmmm, that has to be photoshopped”.

Want a picture of yourself shaking hands with the president, no problem. Got a great picture of yourself but with an X in the shot, remove him/her. Want to smooth out your skin, remove blemishes, look thinner, photoshop it.


Adding age

Adding age

In 1987, Thomas Knoll, a PhD student at the University of Michigan, began writing a program to display grayscale images on a monochrome display. The program, called Display, caught his brother’s attention. Brother John, who worked at Industrial Light & Magic, suggested Thomas turn the program into a full-fledged image editing program.

Thomas top (and photoshopped) John bottom

Thomas top (and photoshopped) John bottom

PhotoShThomas took a six month break from his studies in 1988 and collaborated with John to create a program he called, ImagePro, only to discover later that the name was already taken. Thomas renamed the program Photoshop and worked a short term deal with a scanner manufacturer, Barneyscan, to distribute copies of the program with a slide scanner. A total of 200 copies of Photoshop were shipped this way.

During this time, John traveled to Silicon Valley and gave demonstrations of the program to engineers at Apple and Russell Brown, who was art director at Adobe. Wisely, Adobe snatched up the license to distribute. Photoshop 1.0 was released February 19, 1990 for Macintosh exclusively.

The handling of color improved slowly with each release and Photoshop quickly became the industry standard in digital color editing. At the time, digital retouching on dedicated high end systems, such as the SciTex, cost around $300 an hour for basic photo retouching.

Fun With Photoshop



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